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In the Garden of Groaning

Groaning to god

"I remembered you, God, and I groaned. I meditated and my spirit grew faint." - Psalm 77:3 (NIV)

What about the comfort, assurance, and peace pour quiet times are supposed to give us?

What about the nurturing, loving, contemplative moments that we are told we will experience daily through the spiritual disciplines?

This sounds like work. It sounds soul-wrenching, agonizing, and spiritually surgical? Groaning? Fainting?

Read on to see doubting, complaining, and restlessness.

The psalmist wrestled with his heart in prayer to God. He went deeper. He dug into the rocky soil of his soul and extracted ... dirt!

But every geologist knows that dirt isn't just dirt. it is minerals and organic material. It is microscopic life. It is nutrients.

You can't grow much of a garden in a sanitized pool of water.

So, the question is: Do you want to grow something inside of you, and thus, grow yourself or do you want to lulled, rocked, and soothed?What do you want from your quiet time? If you meet God, you muight also bump into yourself. There might be a collision. There might even be a transofrmation.

I don't often call it a "quiet time" any more. It is a devotional time. It is "dropping anchor." It is a meeting with God. It is all those things, but it is nbot always quiet within me. I get disturbed, shaken, rattled, and inspired. I also get shaped and encouraged.

Read on. Read the whole psalm. God wins and the psalmist is ultimately comforted and encouraged.

But it wasn't easy.

For the director of music. For Jeduthun. Of Asaph. A psalm.

1 I cried out to God for help;
I cried out to God to hear me.
2 When I was in distress, I sought the Lord;
at night I stretched out untiring hands,
and I would not be comforted. 3 I remembered you, God, and I groaned;
I meditated, and my spirit grew faint.
4 You kept my eyes from closing;
I was too troubled to speak.
5 I thought about the former days,
the years of long ago;
6 I remembered my songs in the night.
My heart meditated and my spirit asked: 7 “Will the Lord reject forever?
Will he never show his favor again?
8 Has his unfailing love vanished forever?
Has his promise failed for all time?
9 Has God forgotten to be merciful?
Has he in anger withheld his compassion?” 10 Then I thought, “To this I will appeal:
the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand.
11 I will remember the deeds of the LORD;
yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.
12 I will consider all your works
and meditate on all your mighty deeds.” 13 Your ways, God, are holy.
What god is as great as our God?
14 You are the God who performs miracles;
you display your power among the peoples.
15 With your mighty arm you redeemed your people,
the descendants of Jacob and Joseph. 16 The waters saw you, God,
the waters saw you and writhed;
the very depths were convulsed.
17 The clouds poured down water,
the heavens resounded with thunder;
your arrows flashed back and forth.
18 Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind,
your lightning lit up the world;
the earth trembled and quaked.
19 Your path led through the sea,
your way through the mighty waters,
though your footprints were not seen. 20 You led your people like a flock
by the hand of Moses and Aaron. (Psalm 77, New International Version, ©2011)